“For you,” he crooned brokenly in Chinese. “They were all for you!”
The extemporized rope had just been lowered to Durham, when:
“My God!” cried the sergeant, looking over Huang Chow’s shoulder. “What’s that?”
He had seen the giant spider, the horror from Surinam, which the Chinaman had reared and fed to guard his treasure and to gratify his lust for the strange and cruel. The insect, like everything else in that house, was unusual, almost unique. It was one of the Black Soldier spiders, by some regarded as a native myth, but actually existing in Surinam and parts of Brazil. A member of the family, Mygale, its sting was more quickly and certainly fatal than that of a rattle-snake. Its instinct was fearlessly to attack any creature, great or small, which disturbed it in its dark hiding-place.
Now, with feverish, horrible rapidity it was racing up the tapestries on the other side of the room.
“Merciful God!” groaned the sergeant.
Snatching a revolver from his pocket he fired shot after shot. The third hit the thing but did not kill it. It dropped back upon the floor and began to crawl toward the coffin. The sergeant ran across and at close quarters shot it again.
Red blood oozed out from the hideous black body and began to form a deep stain upon the carpet.
When Durham, drenched but unhurt, was hauled back into the treasure-house, he did not speak, but, scrambling into the room stood—pallid—staring dully at old Huang Chow.
Huang Chow, upon his knees beside his daughter, was engaged in sprinkling priceless jewels over her still body, and murmuring in Chinese:
“For you, for you, Lala. They were all for you.”
RED KERRY ON DUTY
Chief Inspector Kerry came down from the top of a motor-bus and stood on the sidewalk for a while gazing to right and left along Piccadilly. The night was humid and misty, now threatening fog and now rain. Many travellers were abroad at this Christmas season, the pleasure seekers easily to be distinguished from those whom business had detained in town, and who hurried toward their various firesides. The theatres were disgorging their audiences. Streams of lighted cars bore parties supperward; less pretentious taxicabs formed links in the chain.
From the little huddled crowd of more economical theatre-goers who waited at the stopping place of the motor-buses, Kerry detached himself, walking slowly along westward and staring reflectively about him. Opposite the corner of Bond Street he stood still, swinging his malacca cane and gazing fixedly along this narrow bazaar street of the Baghdad of the West. His trim, athletic figure was muffled in a big, double-breasted, woolly overcoat, the collar turned up about his ears. His neat bowler hat was tilted forward so as to shade the fierce blue eyes. Indeed, in that imperfect light, little of the Chief Inspector’s countenance was visible except his large, gleaming white teeth, which he constantly revealed in the act of industriously chewing mint gum.